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The Next Chapter: A Brighter Future

Because of his age, Rocky Boy's Kendall Windy Boy was denied a final year of high school basketball with the Stars. But, putting a tough upbringing behind him, he's persevering in the classroom, and hopefully on the hardwood again some day

 

January 17, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Rocky Boy's Kendall Windy Boy handles the ball during a 2017-18 high school basketball game last winter. Windy Boy was held back multiple times in school as a child, so while he is currently a senior at Rocky Boy High School, he is now 20 years of age and he was denied an appeal to play this season by the Montana High School Association this past summer. Still, Windy Boy is on track to graduate high school this spring and is already taking college courses, while playing basketball for Stone Child College.

High school basketball in Montana means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For Kendall Windy Boy, it meant an escape, at least for a few hours each day, from a life that was fraught with challenges.

Despite having an unstable family life and being forced to miss school at times to take care of things at home, Windy Boy eventually developed into a star at Rocky Boy, and last season, Windy Boy helped the Stars eventually take home third place at the Class B state tournament thanks in large part to a 20-point, 29-rebound effort in the third-place game.

Of course, the Stars were always going to lose talent off that team with Ben Iron Eyes and Kordell Small each being seniors. But what Rocky Boy didn't know was if Windy Boy would be able to play during the 2018-19 season or not.

And that's because while Windy Boy was a junior by academic standards, after getting held back at a younger age, he was 19 at the end of last school year and turned 20 this past December.

That meant that Rocky Boy would need to petition the Montana High School Association on behalf of Windy Boy, in order to ask for the 6-foot-7 forward to be allowed to play this season. In the end, however, the petition was denied, which effectively ended Windy Boy's high school career.

Yet, while it was a setback, it didn't end his basketball career and with some hard work, Windy Boy still has everything in front of him on the basketball floor - he's just taking a road less traveled to try and achieve them.

"Right now, he's just trying to graduate high school," Rocky Boy head coach Adam Demontiney said. "He's going to school at Rocky Boy and then taking some college classes and playing for the college team out there (at Stone Child). He's still interested in college basketball and there are some NAIA, four-year colleges still looking at him, so hopefully, he plays well enough at Stone Child to get looked at. But they play a good schedule and some good competition, so that should give him a chance to get noticed and show what he can do."

With Windy Boy's game and his size, it's not hard to imagine why some four-year colleges would be interested in his abilities.

But when the decision was first handed down, Demontiney said it was hard for Windy Boy to be optimistic about the future.

"It sucked," Demontiney said. "None of the classifications wanted to vote for him. It wasn't the outcome I expected and why I appealed the second time was that I didn't think they looked hard enough at why he was held back. It was a sad deal. They overlooked that and they just looked at him as a basketball player, so that was disappointing. But after that, we had to move on to bigger things and try to get him active and keep him in school. He kind of fell off a bit over the summer, he was really down and out about it. But we just had to keep him motivated."

One thing that has helped is the stable environment provided by Demontiney, who has has provided Windy Boy with a place to live, as well as being a positive role model in his life.

"He didn't have a stable home," Demontiney said. "He was basically homeless. When I invited him to stay at my house, he was staying with friends and you know friends have arguments, so then he would end up on the street. So I invited him over to our house and he has been with us for two years now."

With Demontiney's encouragement, Windy Boy is determined to end his story on a happy note. He's pushing toward graduation this year from Rocky Boy High School and once that is completed, Windy Boy should have plenty of chances to pursue his hoops career at the next level, along with a college education.

"We push him every day," Demontiney said. "There are some days that he doesn't want to get up and work but we get after him and get him going. He's just a typical kid. But we are on him to make sure that he is getting good grades and making sure that he will get his high school diploma this spring."

While it took an unorthodox solution and a commitment from Windy Boy to play college basketball and take high school classes at the same time, his perseverance should be commended. And the fact that he plans to complete his school diploma shouldn't be forgotten.

Over the course of Windy Boy's life, he has faced a lot of adversity, but in the end, he has always found a way to rise above it and basketball has been a big reason why. And when he reached another low, following the decision not to let him play, he turned back to basketball and once again, in a different way, it helped lead him to salvation.

 

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